19 09.248S 178 32.430E
Posting by Barb and Dennis:
During our Sunday visit Ba had asked whether Becky and I wanted to drop by and learn a little about Fijian cooking or weaving. I had already commented on the large beautiful woven mats that covered the floors in every sparsely furnished room so she knew I was interested in their art of weaving. I knew Becky wasn’t that interested in learning the 101 ways if cooking fish in a Lovo or in coconut milk. While we were in church on Sunday we had longingly looked at the fans the ladies were using to cool themselves in the stifling heat. That would be something we could use!! And in return we asked if there was something we could share with them and Suki asked whether we had the materials and skill to help them fix one of their fiberglass power boats which was obviously in need of some repair. So we made a plan; Denny would spend the day helping repair one of their boats and Becky and I would spend a day weaving with Ba.
We arrived early in the morning with fiberglass and resin in hand. The boat was in desperate need of repair, the entire gunnel of the boat was wore through from years of dragging nets over it. Denny just gave instructions and shared his knowledge while Suki and a couple others did the work. It was like putting a bandaid on a major wound. But Denny showed them how to go about doing the repair and promised that he would ship them some fiberglass and resin when we got to Suva (which we did and it only cost $2.00 to ship 4 litres of Resin and 15 metres of fabric).
Ba whisked Becky and me off to her ‘cooking’ hut where she had the coconut palm leaves, cut and ready for us to start. She worked with me first and my fingers moved a little slow and many times she proceeded to take over and I would have to smile and take it back so I could do it myself. Salote (which she proudly explained was also the name for the princess of Tonga), Ba’s sister, had dropped in for a visit and she took an immediate liking to Becky. So she took Becky’s hand and they disappeared for quite some time. Becky returned with a gift from Salote. A little parrot carved by Salote’s husband, which they named Cocky. Together they had woven a little mat for the parrot to sit on. Ba then showed Becky how to make her own fan. Becky’s fingers moved much faster than mine and Ba didn’t have to intervene quite so often. I could swear Becky had done this kind of thing before!!
It was a great day of sharing skills. We walked back to the boat, using our new fans to wave away the mosquitoes that seemed to swarm the 20 minute walk to the boat. Denny walked back a little lighter without the fiber glass and resin but happy with the repairs done to their boat. Becky had a new pet, Cocky, and a new friend, Salote.